If you’re living or traveling in Nicaragua, chances are you’ll start craving turkey, stuffing and gravy around the fourth Thursday of November. San Juan del Sur isn’t exactly known for changing leaf colors and gourmet holiday delights during Thanksgiving, but it does deliver countless things to be thankful for. And often it’s the day-to-day things that we take for granted.
So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’d like to keep the thanks alive in San Juan del Sur. Here are 10 more things we’re thankful for. Some are big. Some are small. But they are all worthy of giving thanks.
- Coconut water directly from a coconut. There’s something special about drinking the water fresh out of a chilled coconut on a hot Nicaragua day. Look for the coconut vendors walking the streets with their mobile coolers filled with ice-cold coconuts. And don’t forget to crack the coconut open to eat the meat inside after you’ve finished drinking the water.
- Bonfires on the beach. Where I’m from in California beach bonfires are mostly banned or highly restricted. In San Juan del Sur beach bonfires are permitted and the undeveloped coastline of Nicaragua’s Pacific is ripe for bonfire building. So pick up your marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate from Pulperia Sanchez and don’t forget to bring your guitar.
- The Del Sur. It is so easy to take this newspaper for granted. Del Sur is the town’s trusty source of news updates, event announcements, tourist advisories, classifieds and more. It provides a wealth of information for visitors and locals in both Spanish and English. So we’d like to offer a big thank you to Kelvin and Maria for your tireless appetite for news, education and truth on matters that impact all who live and travel here.
- The San Juan del Sur Day School. This quality, international English speaking school is unique in San Juan del Sur. We are thankful for the hardworking and inspiring teaching staff, the visionary founding director and the scholarship program which serves to educate those that can’t afford enrollment. If you share our gratitude for the school, make a donation to the scholarship program here.
- The Parque Deportivo. Widely overlooked by tourists passing thru, the “parque deportivo”, (aka sports park) is San Juan del Sur’s one and only true sports facility. Managed and maintained by Comunidad Connect, it’s where all basketball, futball sala (a version of soccer) and volleyball games take place. It’s also directly across from the beach.
- Daily outdoor yoga classes at Zen. Believe it or not, yoga did exist in San Juan del Sur before Zen. But never before has there been a consistent daily schedule with a variety of levels and classes. No matter the day of the week, you can enjoy this oasis of calm in the heart of downtown San Juan. And there’s something special about getting to practice yoga outdoors year round.
- The wildlife. We don’t just mean monkeys. We mean all the incredible wildlife that surrounds San Juan del Sur in the ocean, rivers, tropical dry-forest and nearby lakes. Things like the “Guardabarranco”, Nicaragua’s colorful national bird and humpback whales that migrate between January to April each year.
- The fish-market at the harbor. Daily fresh fish caught by local fishermen. Where else can you get a pound of fresh lobster for $7-$10 or a pound of mahi-mahi for only $3.30? Located behind the port there are 4 acopias or fish stalls selling fish direct from the fishing boats. Look on the chalkboard for the catch of the day.
- Year round surf in warm water at uncrowded beaches. No wetsuits needed to keep you warm. Dozens of nearby beaches to choose from. Diversity in the type of breaks. And still relatively uncrowded waves. All the ingredients of a surfers paradise and we get to call it home. For this, we are very thankful.
- Everyone who purchased our Insider Guide. We spent nearly a year bumping down dirt roads, collecting information and interviewing local business owners to provide people with a guidebook that promotes sustainable tourism and fully showcases all that San Juan del Sur has to offer. And we are deeply touched by those of you who have bought and shared the book. Through book sales we’ve already been able to donate $100 to Comunidad Connect and we’re hopeful to hit our next 100 mark soon. By the way, it’s not too late to get your hands on the guide book. You can grab the Insider Guide here.
How about you?
Whether you’re celebrating U.S. Thanksgiving or not, it feels great to take a minute and think about what’s made your life better this year. What are you thankful for?